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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Burton Farm

Burton Farm

GRHC - December 9th, 2009

Grand Rapids Historical Commission and the Community Media Center present "Glance at the Past". This episode shares the history of Burton Farm.



Barney Burton, one of the earliest pioneers, came to the Grand River Valley in 1833. The following year he and Harriet Guild were the first white couple to be married in the valley. They settled down on 340 acres in what is now known as Burton Heights.

Mrs. Burton, or Aunt Hattie as she was known by everyone, immediately established her flower garden, and over the years planted many trees on the property. The Burtons were very hospitable people and many of the early settlers were housed for a time under their roof.

In 1858 part of the original Burton tract was purchased by Samuel Garfield, father of Charles Garfield, one of the city’s most beloved men. Years later when Aunt Hattie visited the Garfields she looked for one of her favorite trees, a large majestic oak.

“Where is my Oak?”

They told her it had been removed recently by a highway officer. “Why should he take that down without consulting me? That was my tree and my favorite birds nested there. Why should any officer ruthlessly destroy a monarch that had given pleasure to so many people?”

Garfield also had a love of trees. An 1870 graduate of Michigan Agricultural College, he became a nurseryman and horticulturist. He was a force in the battle to renew Michigan's cutover and burned-over forests - devoting over 40 years to the cause, mostly as a volunteer.

Charles Garfield and his wife, Jessie, are buried in Garfield Park, property he gave to the city and part of the original Burton Farm.

Full Details

TitleBurton Farm
KeywordsGlance at the Past, farm, history, radio, WYCE, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission
Pubdate StringDecember 9th, 2009

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